Are You Ignoring Your LinkedIn Connections?

Are you collecting LinkedIn connections like you used to collect baseball cards? And are they just sitting there—like that box of baseball cards in the closet—gathering dust?

Well, it's time to take action and use LinkedIn to maximize those relationships. Follow these six simple steps to create a win-win situation for you and your network.
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Step 1:  Define with whom you want to go deeper

Your LinkedIn network is made up of many types of people, and they've become part of your network for differing reasons. Start by choosing the people with whom you'd most like to meet or have a conversation.

For help with this, check out my worksheet Finding Your LinkedIn Target Audience (see below).
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Step 2:  Make a list of typical keywords they would have on their profile

What combination of keywords could you use to filter your entire network down to the perfect list? These would be words your target audience might include on their profile, like:
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  • Title
  • Company name
  • Location
  • Schools attended
  • Industry
  • Certifications
  • Educational majors
  • Job functions
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Step 3:  Perform a "connection only" LinkedIn advanced people search

Put your cursor into the Search box in the top toolbar. Then choose Search for People from the drop-down list. Next, click All Filters in the top white toolbar and check "1st" under the Connections filter. Then click the blue Apply button on the top right.

Now that you have a listing of your complete first-level network, take advantage of all the additional filters that are available on this page, including locations, current and past companies, industries, etc.

In addition to the filters, you can enter keywords in the top search box to tighten the search down even further.
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Step 4:  Set a search alert

Once you have completed a search that gives you a really good list of the right people, click the Create search alert box. Then each week LinkedIn will email to you any additional people who meet your defined search criteria.
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Step 5:  Send a message offering your help

After you review the full profile of someone on this list that you're interested in chatting with, send a direct LinkedIn message and thank the person for being part of your network. If the person is merely a casual acquaintance, remind him/her how you came to know each other. Then mention ways you might be able to collaborate or help each other. You may even want to include a time that you're available for a meeting or phone call.

The easiest way to send a direct message is to click the Message button on the person's profile. You can also include attachments and links in this message to give your connection additional information.
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Step 6:  Set the appropriate follow-up

Your connection may not be ready to meet or chat right now, but that doesn't mean he or she won't be interested in having a discussion with you in the future. Consider setting up some type of follow-up reminder for yourself in whatever system you use.

Your LinkedIn network should be one of your most treasured business assets, not simply a "dusty" digital collection of random people. Once you follow the six simple steps outlined above, you'll realize just how valuable your network can be for accomplishing your most ambitious business goals.
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Finding Your LinkedIn Target Audience Worksheet

Download (PDF, 130KB)

The post Are You Ignoring Your LinkedIn Connections? appeared first on Wayne Breitbarth.

Do you Need 500+ Connections to be Successful on LinkedIn?

Fueling up a vehicle with a red gas pump.Please see similar images from my portfolio.LinkedIn connections are the gas in your tank. The more you have the further you'll go, especially if the gas in your tank is "high octane" (strategic connections).

To learn how to get more strategic LinkedIn connections, check out my article "Is Your LinkedIn Tank Filled with the Right Gas?")

But is there really something magical about having 500+ people in your network? The results of my latest LinkedIn user survey can help us answer that question.

When asked How many first-level connections do you currently have on LinkedIn, 55% of the 900+ respondents said they have more than 500 connections.Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 11.33.51 AM

But let's peel back the onion a bit to explore how the number of connections relates to success on LinkedIn.

When asked How important is LinkedIn in your efforts to grow your network and develop your business or help you find employment, respondents answered 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5, with 5 representing extremely important and 1 representing not important.

About one-tenth of those surveyed answered 1 or 2, and only 36% of them have 500+Screen Shot 2016-07-30 at 10.22.35 AM connections.

Two-thirds of the survey respondents answered 4 or 5, and 61% of them have 500+ connections.

First of all, it's good news that two-thirds of all respondents consider LinkedIn to be very helpful to their business or career. But it's also important to note that the majority of those successful users have large networks (500 or more connections). Personally, I don't think it's a tremendous leap to conclude that most people with large networks are experiencing greater success on LinkedIn.
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How a larger LinkedIn network improves your chances of success

There are certainly successful LinkedIn users who have small, close-knit, strategic networks, but there are many benefits of a large network. Here are some examples:
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  • You'll appear more often in search results
  • You'll usually be higher in the search ranking
  • You'll have more shared connections and thus have easier access to the right people
  • You'll show up more often in People Also Viewed
  • You'll appear more often in People Similar To
  • Your status updates and published posts are more likely to receive views, shares and comments

Am I suggesting that quantity of connections is always better than quality? Absolutely not. A small, strategic network of people you know and trust works great for some people. But think about how much better a large network of strategic connections could be.

And whether you decide to join the LinkedIn 500+ club or not, make a habit of engaging with your connections. Share your knowledge with them, introduce them to each other, acknowledge their accomplishments, and you'll be on your way to business and career success.

The post Do you Need 500+ Connections to be Successful on LinkedIn? appeared first on Wayne Breitbarth.

Is Your LinkedIn Tank Filled with the Right Gas?

Connections are the gas in your LinkedIn tank, and every time you connect with someone on LinkedIn, it affects the quality of your network–just like the quality of the gas you purchase affects how your car runs. In other words, not all connections are created equal.Gas Prices

Most people add connections haphazardly, but to be highly successful on LinkedIn it’s important to develop a strategy for growing a dynamic network that will help you reach your most ambitious goals.

Everyone’s situation is unique, but here are some general suggestions that will help you understand what types of people you should connect with to strengthen your network and help you enhance your brand, find a job, assist your favorite nonprofit, or grow your business.
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Who can help you enhance your personal brand?
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  • People who have had similar career paths to yours
  • Leaders in your industry associations
  • Individuals who have large networks (LinkedIn or otherwise) concentrated in your region or industry
  • People who work for some of the well-respected companies in your region and industry
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Who can help you find a new job or advance your career?
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  • People who work in your industry and region
  • People who work for companies you are interested in
  • Recruiters who specialize in your industry
  • Consultants and experts in your industry
  • Human resources professionals who work at your target companies
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Who can help your favorite nonprofit thrive?
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  • People who volunteer for or sit on boards of similar nonprofits
  • Individuals who work at large corporations, foundations, etc. and tend to support nonprofits like yours
  • People who are involved in groups that have large volunteer pools (e.g., religious organizations, schools, clubs, etc.)
  • People who work for media outlets
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Who can help you generate sales leads, market your company’s products and services, and grow your business?
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  • Individuals who are the direct decision-makers for the purchase of your products and services
  • People who are indirectly involved in the decision to purchase your products and services (strategic influencers or people from the company who weigh in on the decision)
  • High-ranking officers at the companies that purchase your products and services, even if they are not the direct decision-makers
  • Individuals who hang around with the people listed in the first two bullets (probably deliver similar services to the same purchasers)
  • People who are recognized industry experts
  • Leaders of your industry associations and/or people who manage industry events
  • Individuals who are well networked in your region or industry
  • Experts who provide educational content for the industry

Connecting with the above-referenced people will definitely improve the quality of your network.

For insights on the quantity part of your LinkedIn connection strategy, check out the article below, which is part of my LinkedIn online course “Explode Your Revenues Using LinkedIn.” And for a limited time, the complete course can be yours for only $147 (list price $297). Click here for details.

Download (PDF, 344KB)


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